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<Q A 1760? TC GL EMONTAGU>
<X ELIZABETH MONTAGU>
[}ELIZABETH MONTAGU TO GEORGE LYTTELTON, BARON LYTTELTON. AUGUST 7, 1760? MS HYDE 7 (7). TUNBRIDGE}]
Tunbridge Wells y=e= 7=th= of aug.
If I had not been very apprehensive that your Lordship was threaten'd with a severe fit of the rheumatism, I should not so placidly have received an account of your being still rheumatick; but one shade of evil lighter than our fears have painted seems a kind of blessing. I hope D=r= Monseys medicine will entirely cure your [\complaint/] but I lament this damp weather as too likely to bring it back. I cannot yet boast of any great benefit from the Tunbridge waters. A bad lodging, a disagreable system of life, & a great fright from the danger I was in of such an overturn in my coach as would probably have been fatal, has kept me much in the same state I was when I came hither. I have rested better lately but not well. I do not with your Lordship accuse the vivacity of my imagination of this insomnie, for I remember, that when my mind was more lively, more diligent, incessantly forming [\landskips\] or history peices, real portraits, or grotesque forms, it used to sleep eight or ten hours without even the visitation of a dream, & rose in the morning like Aurora, throwing freshness and joy on every object, tricked itself out in sun beams, & set in gay & glowing colours. If any person had then advertised for a companion to travel thro the desarts of Siberia or Africa, I could have [\recommended\]
My imagination to them as one which [\would/] shew Cities where even a cottage did not appear, or like Moses wand would bring a river from a rock. It was from this picture drawing faculty I used to be always amused & gay, & when first fancy began to lose some of its creative powers it retaind the complaisance of Hamlets courtier, & could trace a weezel or an Elephant in a shapeless cloud from the least hint that was given it. But from a painter this poor mind is sunk into meer journal writer, & barely repeats matter of fact, & the event of the day, & yet it cannot sleep over the dull story in black & white, as it did on the gay, illuminated, fairy tale.
I do not wonder that Lady Lincolds acquaintance should be shock'd at her death, it is only while one took at Holbeins picture that one couples this King of terrors with such gay [\& youthfull/] characters. I think Death seems of late to be grown an [\UNCLEAR\], & to feed on peafowl & singing birds, so that we ordinary domestick [\WORD INTO beings?\] may hope to be neglected by him. I hear he yet spares the Phoenix Coventry, & that she is relieved by the breaking of an
I have lived so entirely alone that it has not been possible for me to spare my poor eyes, I have made them [\read/] many hours every day. I got from the booksellers here a volume of the new translation of Sophocles, which I had with great pleasure; or if it be a greater compliment to Melpomene, I may almost as properly say with great pain; & indeed with an interest and eagerness that is not be described, & which was probably
In part owing to the veneration to a great name The OEdipus Coloneus affected me extreamly, & would have done so more if it had not been for the constant presence of the Chorus; but the passions are awed & checkd by a crowd. I am more than ever averse to the chorus because tho [\as ye/] translator tells us, the chorusses of Sophocles are less alien to the subject of the Drama than those of any other tragedian, & yet here they hurt the interest of it very much. I should not be so much moved by the tender paternal chiding of Henry y=e= fourth
if his Majestys Privy Counsellors were all on the stage, interrupting his expostulations with his son by a fine song on paternal care, & the mischiefs of youthfull indiscretion. But after all, I envy the Athenians an entertainment so noble in itself, so affecting to their state, so glorious to their Country, & honorable to their founder Theseus. With respect to Sophocles be it spoken, I wish the play had ended with the tragical & mystical death of OEdipus. The supernatural circumstances that attend it would have left the mind in a state more truly tragic than it is in at ye conclusion of his daughters lamentations, which tho' fine & pathetick, are such as might follow on the death of any other Father, & resemble those on taking leave of him. The Thunder that comes in as symphony to the last act of Fated OEdipus, his death so supernatural, his body the pledge of empire, & the place of his burial unknown to all but Theseus & his successors, are circumstances that leave the mind in a very peculiar situation & I think I would defy the tragick muse to do any thing greater. I have not seen my opinion authorized
By any critick or commentator, but I shall know whether it is right or not when your Lordship tells me yours.
I have not heard whether M=r= Hall received the four setts of dressing boxes I sent from hence as your Lordship desired. At the same time I took y=e= liberty to send you a cheap set of tea cups & coffee cups for a Tunbridge faring. I directed the boxes to M=r= Hall, & sent him a note by D=r= Monsey. being at that time in want of franks. & therefore enclosed to the Doctor.
I am very happy in being so much in your Sons favour, I shall not forfeit my interest by negligence [\,\] I shall hope to hear sometimes how the Sunning [\waters\] agree with your lordship I dare say I shall get well now I have a room to breathe in, but the smallness of my lodgings suffocated me. We have had a deluge of rain. With the most perfect regard
I am my Lord
your Lordships / most Obliged & faithfull / H=ble= Serv=t= / E Montagu How is Lord Egremont? I hope well enough to visit Hagley.